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Seven Brides for Seven Brothers –The Opera House, Manchester

Book: Lawrence Kasha &David S. Landay

Music: Gene de Paul

Lyrics: Johnny Mercer

Director &Choreographer: Patti Colombo

Reviewer: Ruth Gerrard



seven bridesThis 1950s musical has been loving revived for the touring circuit, with Sam Attwater at the helm as oldest brother, Adam Pontipee and Helena Blackman as Milly, the first woman to marry in to the family of seven brothers.

The plot is thin in some respects but this is not the point of the piece. Following a whirlwind romance of a few hours, Milly and Adam marry and move up to his isolated farm in deepest darkest Oregon, USA. On arrival, it becomes clear Milly is expected to skivvy and look after Adam and his 6 younger brothers who are less than civilised. Deciding this is less than savoury; Milly sets about educating the boys in the ways of women and social etiquette in a bid to find them wives of their own. Cue six testosterone filled boys chasing after six squealing women.

Blackman’s Milly is vocally confident and her voice soars during ‘Love Never Goes Away’ in Act One with Attwater and the delightful Jack Greaves as Gideon; the youngest Pontipee brother. However, it is also this song that highlights the weakness of Attwater’s vocals compared with the rest of the cast. At times he is inaudible as the other two drown him out as he appears to be lacking in the power to make his voice identifiable within the piece. His accent has an inclination to wander at times also, all of which makes it difficult to accept him as a rough redneck who encourages his brothers to behave shockingly to get the wives they want. With Blackman’s support Attwater makes it through and is warmly received by his fans.

The six other Pontipee’s are a sight to behold. Athletic and dynamic they certainly bring the required energy levels to the show and their enthusiasm is boundless. Although a tendency to shout a lot of the dialogue can make it difficult to catch entirely what is said, especially when they are all speaking in a group, it is difficult not to be fond of these excitable young things. The same applies to suitors and the social dance scene in Act One is a sight to behold as is the wedding dance in Act Two. The acrobatic ability of so many of the cast brings to life this rooting tooting show in a charming manner that it difficult not to enjoy.

After a delayed and false start and peppered with a few sound issues, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is a fun filled boisterous night out. The dancing is wonderful and a pleasure to see and popular numbers such as Bless your Beautiful Hide and Going Courting certainly please the audience. This show will not give you pause for thought but then again. It isn’t meant to. Enjoy for what it is and you will not be disappointed.

Runs until Saturday 26 October 2013


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